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We are inclined to be analytical — to a fault at times. As we travel the waterways that frame of mind can be useful. (we are both Myers-Briggs TJs) But most of our analysis is forward looking — tides, currents, depths, weather, fuel availability and quality…pizza… As a professional strategist, I’m inclined to look back as well, particularly when the situation feels odd.
This year, we know we are running behind previous years and our plans for this one. No big deal. If we wanted a schedule, we’d be on a bus or a cruise ship. On the other hand, it is useful to know how we are doing compared to the past if for no other reason than to stop thinking about it.
So, what is progress in this life style? An anchorage, a marina, a city, a hazard passed… Generally it comes down to distance. But distance is subject to interpretation. Is it miles of water cruised through? Radial miles from some checkpoint? Jimmy Buffett wrote about changes in latitudes, not changes in waterway mileage or crow flies distance (tough to rhyme). I decided it would be interesting to look at changes in latitude, latitude-days and cumulative latitude days*.
Having done so, I’m better informed, but I don’t think I’m any smarter. I still designate plotter way points based on paths and destinations; hazards and opportunities. I still check the charts for waterway mileage when estimating time to a destination. But with all this new latitudes smarts† comes a new dimension for complaining! Where would we be without cheap computers and spreadsheets (the same spot actually–Myrtle Beach Yacht Club waiting for thunderous stuff and a pizza while under a Gale Warning). So here we are till Boxing Day.
*Many of you have heard of heating degree days or cooling degree days which are used for sizing heating and cooling systems. Latitude-days are much the same. We calculate the daily difference between the latitude at Mile Marker “0” and our end of day position and multiply it by the number of days we are aboard the boat at that position.
†There is actually a correlation with solar system performance, but since the panels bring us back to full charge just after lunch each day, it’s rather moot.